st. Gotthard

Saturday, April 28, 2007


Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse should be opened right today this year. A fine way to start another legendary cycling day. I was warming up for the first flat 30 km up to the start of the first pass - Iselberg, it´s about 8 km and quite difficult. Then it was going down partly on roads and partly on radwegs that followed idyllic streams away from the road and the traffic.

Just before Heiligenblut it really starts without introduction. Steep road goes relentlessly up and up. I was not helped with my 42-teeth front ring and especially 24-teeth largest cog. But that´s the way I choose it to be, so I can´t complain. It is also a way to climb the pass, even though I don´t recommend it and won´t repeat it again myself. Briefly, it was pedaling hard for 100 to 500m, then stopping to catch a breath, then repeat. The pass up to the Hochtor at 2504 m is 21 km long, I have broken it with another side pass to Franz Josef Hohe, where the sight of Grossglockner glacier is somewhat sad: the glacier is visibly shrinking and is not a shadow of its past glory. Last 6 km I was cycling (or struggling) between walls of snow high up to 4 m.

On the way down it was squeezing the brakes all the time, more so because there was real danger that a marmot would run under my wheels. There are a number of them sitting right by the road, probably waiting for handouts from sympathetic tourists.

Day 2: 108 km, 6h 49 min.


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